With gratitude and sadness, we share with readers the news that Alex Kliner’s Menschenings column will appear for the last time in this issue of the Jewish Independent. Alex is retiring and, while we are happy that he’s about to enjoy a well-deserved break, we’ll miss him.
After more than two decades of keeping our readers up-to-date with news, quips, culture, history, wordplay and trivia from the Jewish world, Alex has decided that the time has come to relax a little and give up the grind of a weekly column.
Alex has been a pillar of this newspaper and remains a pillar of this community, reflecting ourselves back to ourselves, with wit, Yiddishkeit and puns that he well knows are groaners. He has brought his unique character to these pages, built on the linguistic and comedic styles that are distinctively Jewish but which are also inimitably Klineresque.
Reading Menschenings has always been like spending time with a friend – a gossipy friend, but in the best sense. Lashon hara never, ever found a place in Alex’s column. His stories were always positive and joyfully told. Like Alex in person, Menschenings has been a cheery respite amid the world’s sometimes woeful events.
Alex has been able to pack an enormous amount into each column, covering news that matters and nuggets that entertain. He often notes the passing of figures of importance to Jewish life, many of whom were unsung heroes in their fields but little known to the general public. Goings-on around town, important new works of literature, tidbits from showbiz with a Jewish angle: there have not been many limits to the Menschenings beat.
His columns have also been filled with kavods and kudos for local and international figures about whom readers may otherwise have known nothing. Mazal tovs for simchot, recognitions of landmark events, notes on new cultural diversions and businesses opening and closing. Through these many years, week after week, Alex has curated stories of ordinary and extraordinary people, distilling a huge range of events and personalities into a tight package that is a pleasure to peruse. His chatty style has made our community feel a sense of togetherness, as though even people we do not know are linked with us through a mutual friend.
Importantly, each week Menschenings has featured a member of the local community, often someone whose contributions to the smooth running of communal organizations or a local business are crucial yet uncelebrated, an artist being introduced to new audiences, an author, a chef, an athlete, any number of people we were better for knowing about through Alex’s introduction. He has often been the first to identify rising stars in the local arts scene and there is no gauge to measure the careers he has helped along the way.
For 21 tireless years, and just two columns short of 1,000, Alex has been an irreplaceable and beloved voice of this newspaper and the community we serve. Together with Elaine, whose name has appeared frequently in Menschenings as a muse and a foil – El-Al, as they are collectively known – Alex has attended more community events, concerts, plays and other events than the most dogged culture vultures.
Thank you, Alex, for everything you have done to help build this community and tell our stories. Your name is, appropriately, inextricably connected with the word mensch.
– all of us at the Jewish Independent